The number of house sales year-on-year during December increased by 3.6% to 102,300, latest figures from HMRC have revealed, but remain flat compared to the month before.

HMRC’s seasonally-adjusted figure is still over a third below the market activity peak of 160,000 house sales in October 2007 just before the credit crunch, and is part of an ongoing trend that has seen transactions bob along either just below or above 100,000 sales during most months.

“It’s usual for transactions to be subdued at the end of the year, as people wind down for the festive period,” says Craig McKinley of Kensington Mortgages.

“However, the continued stagnation is a sign of the political instability we’re experiencing, and this stagnation is affecting buyers and homeowners on every rung of the property ladder.

“What’s needed is clarity. Only once people feel secure, will buyers feel comfortable making the moves which are necessary to ease pressure on the housing market.” Durham houses for sale

Auction slowdown

But while overall transactions levels remain flat, the number of sales via auctions has been falling significantly, according to the latest figures from EIG.

David Sandeman image

These reveal a 10% drop in the number of lots offered and a 12% fall in the number of lots sold during December, and an overall drop in the number of homes sold via auctions of 7.1% during 2018.

EIG’s founder David Sandeman (left) blames this on the ongoing ‘Brexit turmoil’ saying that: “The entire property market, private treaty included, is seemingly on tenterhooks whilst parliament continues to try and negotiate a way out of the mire”.